‘Creed 3’s Release Date Delay Breaks a Longtime ‘Rocky Tradition: Here’s How

by Taylor Cunningham

Creed 3 is making its big theatrical debut in March of 2023, which means it’s breaking a long-running Rocky franchise tradition.

The movie was originally expected to drop this November. If it had, it would have followed in the footsteps of the first two Creed installments and nearly all of the Rocky movies.

Aside from Rocky II and Rocky III, every other franchise addition debuted during the holiday season in November or December. So fans of the cult classics were always excited to make going to theaters a seasonal tradition.

In fact, the original Balboa story opened just before Thanksgiving. And Rocky IV—which first featured Ivan Drago— actually started its run on Christmas Day.

Originally, Creed 3 was set for November 23rd. When the creators announced the move to March, they didn’t mention what caused the delay. But most assume there was more post-production work needed than they anticipated.

Sylvester Stallone Will Not Star in ‘Creed 3’

And the release date isn’t the only glaring changeup that the Rocky and Creed franchise is making with the new installment. Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa won’t be appearing in the film either, which means the entire story is taking on a new life.

The Rocky franchise began in 1976 when Stallone played a Philidelphia club fighter who got his once-in-a-lifetime chance at boxing greatness. And, of course, he earned his place in history.

After six Balboa-based movies made their holiday runs, Stallone starred in 2015’s Creed alongside Michael B. Jordan.

In that film, we saw an older Balboa mentoring the son of original champion Apollo Creed. And after the branch-off gained plenty of fanfare, Creed turned into a series of its own. Stallone returned for the second installment. But he’s not returning for the third time.

In 2021, the 76-year-old revealed to Metro UK that he was retiring Balboa from the Creed series entirely.

“Well it’s different because actually, I bowed out of that one,” he said of the upcoming movie. “I just didn’t know if there was any part for me,” Stallone said. “It takes it in a different direction. I wish them well and keep punching.”

However, Sylvester Stallone will continue working with the franchise behind the scenes. For the March release, he is serving as a producer. And, he also helped write the script with Zach Baylon and Keenan Coogler.

Stallone didn’t give many teasers about Creed 3. But he did share that the plot is “really interesting.” And it takes the original story in an unexpected direction.